1. Home

Changes in Networking Behavior when Employees Work from Home: The Role of Network Perception and Proactive Work Behavior

Working from home
Strategic Management Research Day 2023
June 1, 2023
16:05 to 17:05
Meneer Vos

People’s workplace relationships affect a range of important organizational outcomes (Hollenbeck & Jamieson, 2015) and building and maintaining relationships with others is a vital part of one’s job. However, government regulations to handle the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees in Western Europe to work from home, drastically reducing the opportunity to informally meet colleagues. Prior research suggests that people respond to uncertainty and threat by either “widening” or “winnowing” their social networks (Smith, Menon, & Thompson, 2012; Woehler et al., 2021). When employees winnow their social networks by reducing the number and frequency of social interactions, they also reduce their access to valuable opportunities (Burt, 1992). Thus, identifying why employees widen or winnow their workplace social networks in response to a working from home situation—such as the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—is a vital, yet understudied undertaking

To test our hypotheses, we collected rich longitudinal social network data at a professional service firm headquartered in the Netherlands between 2019 and 2021. The organization’s employees were forced to work from home to the Dutch regulations to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which enabled us to study the change in networking behavior that resulted from the working from home situation. Our analyses show that proactive work behavior has a positive effect on and is a necessary condition for network change. This effect is moderated by network perception, such that this effect is only positive when employees do not perceive a negative effect of the working from home situation on their workplace social networks.  

Related Posts

Research Talks

Changes in networking behavior: Examining network perception and proactive work behavior when employees work from home
August 8, 2023

Research Talks

Changes in Networking Behavior when Employees Work from Home: The Role of Network Perception and Proactive Work Behavior
July 8, 2023

Research Talks

Bottleneck or Not? The Ceiling Effect of Network Closure on Individual Innovative Performance
August 12, 2024

A presentation of a study showing that closed networks serve as social straitjackets that prevent employees from achieving high levels of innovative performance.

Research Publications

A Network Perspective on Corporate Entrepreneurship
June 30, 2022

This dissertation develops and tests a network perspective on corporate entrepreneurship.